The first-line center position in hockey has changed dramatically over the last several seasons. Sure, you have players like Pavel Datsyuk (DET), Mikko Koivu (MIN), and Anze Kopitar (LAK) who are top-line guys no matter what sweater they wear. However, there are teams that assign players to lines where they know they will succeed and produce for the team.
Boston Bruins center David Krejci has turned into one of the top playmakers in the league because of the team that he plays for. The Bruins organization consists of players who are brought in for a reason. They will assume roles that are suitable for the system.
Krejci has taken over the role of first-line center ever since Marc Savard went down with a potentially career-ending concussion. He has turned into arguably one of the most underrated point-per-game players in the league. He is not a big name player. There probably were not a lot of teams who called up the Bruins on the day of the trade deadline and said “I want Krejci. What will it take for us to get him?”
But he has been seeing more time on the power play and the penalty kill, something that most top-line centers should be able to do, and with the increased amount of ice time comes the responsibility of putting points on the board.
Krejci is a player who can turn hot or cold at the flip of a switch. So far this season, Krejci has been on five different point streaks, an 11-game point streak that he had towards the end of December and through the beginning of January.
The more staggering number for the 25-year-old playmaker is that he has been on six different pointless streaks during this season. He has been held without a point in 31 games. In the month of February alone, he recorded only two points and held a seven-game pointless streak.
As a first-line center, there really is no excuse for possessing those kinds of streaks. Taking nights off while on the ice just does not cut it in the NHL. With that being said, Krejci has been shifted around to different lines multiple times this season due to injuries.
Nathan Horton, Krejci’s usual linemate, has missed several weeks with a concussion. The lack of consistency playing with different linemates has thrown his game off.
Krejci now plays on the top line with Milan Lucic and Tyler Seguin, a line that will be an offensive threat against every team remaining on the Bruins’ schedule.
Krejci recently signed a three-year contract extension worth $5.25 million per year and it will last through the 2014-2015 season. He will be controlling the puck in a Bruins sweater for the foreseeable future.